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Monday, 15 December 2014

National Monuments Record of Wales Archives and Library Bulletin - November 2014





Welcome to the latest monthly edition of the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) Archives and Library Bulletin which lists all newly catalogued material. http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/HI/ENG/Our+Services/Donate+Records/Recent+Acquisitions/. The archival items, library books and journal articles are all available to view in our public reading room. The full archive catalogue is available on Coflein and contains digital copies of many of the items listed.

Our Library and reading room is open:
Monday – Friday 09.30 – 16.00, Wednesday 10.30 – 16.30.

Tachwedd ~ November 2014

Archif ~ Archives
Abbey Tintern Furnace Excavation Archive: Ref. No. ATFE
Archive relating to an excavation at Abbey Tintern Furnace directed by John Pickin, 1979-1981.

Archaeological Reports/Evaluations (non Trust) Ref. No. AENT39_09
EAS Client Report 2014/03 and associated records relating to Prys Mawr, Llanuwchllyn produced by Engineering Archaeological Services Ltd, Aug 2014.

Investigators' Digital Photography
Photo surveys for the following sites were added to this collection:
Drill Hall Aberystwyth (Ref: DS2014_489)
Drill Hall, Aberystwyth.
NPRN: 402566 , DS2014_489_004, C597145

  • Memorial Hall, Tregaron (Ref: DS2014_485)
  • 21 sites in and around the town of Chirk
  • 20 sites in and around the town of Hay-on-Wye


Drill Hall, Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye.
NPRN: 420572, DS2014_452_002, C596467

  • Welsh Highland Railway (Ref: DS2014_434)
  • Snowdon Mountain Railway (Ref: DS2014_474 & DS2014_477 )
  • Cambrian Coast Line Railway (Ref: DS2014_435)
  • St Helen’s Road Railway Tunnel (Ref: DS2014_436)
  • DeWinton Foundry, Caernarfon (Ref: DS2014_458)
  • Snowdon Mill, Caernarfon (Ref: DS2014_473)
  • Millstone, Whitchurch (Ref: DS2014_485)
  • Nantgarw Colliery Monument (Ref: DS2014_486)
  • Glamorganshire Canal (Ref: DS2014_484)
  • Garreg-fawr ironstone and copper mines, Betws Garmon (Ref: DS2014_475)
  • Porthmadog Harbour (Ref: DS2014_476)
  • Bridge abutments and railway embankment, Cwm Clydach Railway (Ref: DS2007_010)


Railway bed and rock cutting from the southeast a short distance north of Pont y Lon.
NPRN: 405517, DS2007_008_001, C596407
  • All Saints’ Church, Cwm Ffrwd-Oer (Ref: DS2014_294)


Mothers Union banner, All Saints’ Church, Cwm Ffrwd-Oer.
NPRN: 12946, DS2014_294_017, C596450


NMR Site Files – B/W Photos
Images of inscribed stones from 11 sites including:
  • St Michael’s church, Llanfihangel-ar-arth
  • Ogmore Castle
  • St Padarn’s church, Llanbadarn Fawr

Photo surveys of 11 coastal sites in Pembrokeshire including:
  • St Brides Bay
  • Whitesands Bay
  • Tenby
  • Stack rocks
  • Newgale Bridge

Photo survey of Bremia Llanio Roman Fort carried out in 1973


Cambrian Archaeological Projects Archive
Piercefields Walks Archive (Ref: CAM2004/23_169)

Islwyn Jones Chapel Collection
Photo surveys of the following chapels were added to this collection:
  • Shiloh Chapel , Pentre 13884
  • Bethania CM chapel, Tonypandy 13970
  • Llidiadnennog Welsh Independent chapel, Llanybydder 6599


Llyfrau ~ Books
Barber, Chris (ed.). 1989. Hando’s Gwent Vol. 2, Abergavenny: Blorenge Books.
Brabham, Peter. 2013. Barry: The History of the Yard and its Locomotives, Surrey: Oxford Publishing Co.
Bebb, Richard. 2009. The Bardic Chair / Y Gadair Farddol, Carmarthenshire: Saer Books.
Daniel, Glyn. 1981. A Short History of Archaeology, London: Thames and Hudson.
Edey, Maitland A. 1979. Lost World of the Aegean, Netherlands: Time-Life Books Inc.
Evans, Gareth. 2014. The History of Ruthin, Rhuthun: Ruthin History Society.
Flaherty, Thomas H. 1993. Lost Civilizations: Wonderous Realms of the Aegeon, Virginia: The Time Inc. Book Company.
Gaunt, Peter. 1991. A Nation under Siege: The Civil War in Wales 1642-48, London: HMSO.
Geertz, Clifford. 1993. The Interpretation of Cultures, London: Fontana Press.
Grant, Michael. 1989. The Classical Greeks, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Hood, Sinclair. 1971. The Minoans: Crete in the Bronze Age, London: Thames and Hudson.
James, Heather (ed.). 1991. Sir Gâr: Studies in Carmarthenshire History: Essays in Memory of W. H. Morris and M. C. S. Evans. Monograph Series Vol. 4. Carmarthen: Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society.

Cyfnodolion ~ Journals
Britannia vol. 45 (2014)
Conservation Bulletin no. 73 (Winter 2014)
Current Archaeology no. 297 (December 2014)
Heritage Counts 2014
Landscapes vol. 15 no. 2 (November 2014)
Medieval Archaeology vol. 58 (2014)
Meisgyn and Glynrhondda Local History Research vol. VIII no. 2 (July 2014)
Pembrokeshire Life (November 2014)
Pen Cambria no. 27 (Winter 2014)
Planet no. 216 (Winter 2014)
Update Standards (November 2014)
Welsh Mines Society Newsletter no. 71 (Autumn 2014)

Cylchgronau Gwasanaeth Ymwybyddiaeth Gyfredol ~ Journals Current Awareness
Conservation Bulletin no. 73, p. 34: ‘Britain from Above’ [about the joint English Heritage, RCAHMS and RCAHMW project involving the Aerofilms collection]

Landscapes vol. 15 no. 2, p. 181: Montgomeryshire Past and Present from the Air and Radnorshire from Above by Chris Musson reviewed by Paul Stamper

Medieval Archaeology vol. 58, p. 270: ‘Bayvil in Cemais: An Early Medieval Assembly Site in South-West Wales?’ by Rhiannon Comeau

Pembrokeshire Life, p. 4: ‘Booting out the witches’ by Sue Lloyd [article about the apotropaic practice of concealing shoes inside chimneys and walls, and a cache of such shoes being discovered at Templeton Farm]; p. 26: ‘Photo focus’ [about drone aerial photography and its use by Cadw and other heritage and tourism bodies]

Pen Cambria no. 27, p. 41: ‘Virtual Chapels in Wales’ [about the virtual museum of Welsh nonconformity developed by RCAHMW and the Welsh Religious Buildings Trust]


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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Commission’s Animation Film shown in Tokyo





On 14 June 2014 the Commission’s animation of workers housing and associated church, chapel and public house, at the World Heritage site in Blaenavon, was shown to an audience of more than 200 people at an international conference in Tokyo.

The conference celebrated the great achievement of the rapid industrialisation that followed the ending of Japan’s 200-year policy of self-imposed isolation from 1639.  This had been effectively ended when the American Pacific Fleet under Admiral Perry had entered Nagasaki harbour in 1853.  There was an immediate recognition by some Japanese that they had to acquire western technical knowledge if they were to survive as an independent nation. Five young Japanese from leading families in local clans subsequently visited London, their tutor had been executed for leaving Japan without being given the ruling shogun’s permission.

The Briton, Thomas Glover of the Jardine Matheson Bank, eventually arrived in Nagasaki to participate in the business partnerships that were developing to modernise Japan. On the way he helped the local clans depose the retrograde shogun.

Glover’s house and most of the other sites that form a World Heritage bid, which shows the first large-scale transfer of modern technology from a western to an eastern country, are in the Nagasaki area.  There was a large technical and business input from Britain into these processes.

A main adviser of the present World Heritage bid was the late Stuart Smith, a former Welsh Royal Commissioner who died in May, and who was my predecessor as Secretary of the International Committee on the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH). TICCIH are advisors to the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and UNESCO, on industrial World Heritage sites.

The Welsh Royal Commission has become an expert and valued advisors on the preparation of World Heritage bids in Wales, having spent two, then six years, preparing the successful Blaenavon and Pontcysyllte World Heritage nominations respectively. It led the 2009 Pontcysyllte bid and is preparing the present slate industry bid, for which it is preparing further animations.

A previous interpretation film of the building of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has been shown in China at a consultation on international canal studies, during the preparation for World Heritage status of the 1000 miles long Grand Canal of China, which was inscribed in June this year.

The government and authorities in both Japan and China have been funding advice co-ordinated by both TICCIH & ICOMOS from across the world; two members of staff from Historic Scotland were also present in Tokyo.

The value placed on this co-operation is shown by the fact that over 1500 people attended the conference reception in Tokyo at which the Japanese Prime Minister and several of his Cabinet were present.
 
The Blaenavon and Pontcysyllte Animations can be viewed on the Royal Commission’s site on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZUg94GMp3s and www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqeCu6jd9W0  respectively, and are also shown in the World Heritage Interpretation Centres at both sites.

Stephen Hughes, TICCIH Secretary.


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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Remembering The British Women Who Were To Be The First To Track A Rocket By Radar …







A photograph from Mrs Ranson’s album showing her colleagues at work on the range – National Army Museum, ref: 2014-10-20 111748

Take a break from work out on the firing range, posing for official photographs, and relaxing…. four photographs recently discovered at the National Army Museum shed light on the lives of Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Army (ATS) personnel who worked at the Ynyslas top-secret rocket testing range at the end of World War II.

The photographs, donated to the museum by Mrs M. Ranson, are of the small team of highly skilled Experimental Gunnery Assistants who helped track the trajectories of prototype rocket missiles, developed to respond to Germany’s flying bomb technology.

In 1945, a new Guided Missiles Project (under the leadership of Sir Alwyn D. Crow, CBE, ScD, Director of Guided Projectiles, Ministry of Supply) brought together some 40 civilian and service personnel—from the Radar Research Defence Establishment (RRDE), Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE), Sir Frank Whittle’s Power Jets (Research and Development) Ltd, and the fuel companies Asiatic Petroleum Company (formed by Shell and Royal Dutch Oil Companies) and Laporte Chemicals Ltd — to push rocket technology forward.

The firing range was manned by nine officers and 202 ordinary ratings (excluding cooks and ratings) under a Superintendent of Experiments (S of X). Only one official document survives relating to the trials — the minutes of a visit on 2 January 1946 by Major L W Jubb, the chairman of the Guided Projectile Working Committee. After a tour of facilities with the S of X, Lt Col T. L. G. Tod, Royal Artillery, discussions centred on how photographic observations might be improved using the Akeley and Ascania cameras operated by Women’s ATS staff.  However the oral testimony of Margaret Herterich, in the collections of the Imperial War Museum, reveals how the tests were conducted:
‘Our main work was the start of experimentation on rockets, the beginning I believe of the Blue Streak, the British rocket. Four of us were trained as Kinetographers on modified kinecameras as used in the film news industry. The first instruction was in one of the loading bays where a system of knots and rope-pullage had been devised. We pulled the ropes in a fashion to follow the knots, although we didn’t know why we were doing it at the time. Eventually we worked these two kinecameras mounted on posts. Each was worked by two girls for bearing and elevation. After loading and switching on, we followed the flight path and booster-drop of rockets fired from a ramp on the range. The films were taken back to the dark-room where we four girls wound them on large circular reels and developed them. We were responsible for the results of the experiments costing thousands of pounds. The film was then evaluated, frame by frame, through a grid machine and then plotted onto the longest piece of graph paper you’ve ever seen. The trajectory was then studied by the Officers.

We knew that we were working on something special when we girls received letters from the Ministry of Supply, asking if we would like to go to Woomera, Australia, to carry on the work of the Blue Streak Rocket. Our officers were excited about this work as they had just received some new Canadian radar equipment. Knowing that I had been an Operator Firing Control on radar in the Ack-Ack, they invited me into the new set to be, as they said - ‘The first woman in Britain to see a rocket on radar’. We didn’t see a thing!’
You may not have been able to see the rocket on radar that day, but it is on record that your commander, Lt Col Todd, greatly lamented the loss of his skilled Women’s ATS personnel when they were  demobilised in 1946 (document ref: AVIA 48/16, National Archives, Kew).

The Ynyslas experiments contributed to Britain’s post-war space progamme, which lead to the establishment of the European Launcher Development Organisation in the early 1960s - the forerunner of today’s European Space Agency.
 
We would love to hear from anyone who had a relative who also served at MOS EE AA Ynyslas. Or who could tell us more about the women featured in Mrs Ranson’s photos.

A very special thank you to the Ben Fellowes, Public Information Curator, National Army Museum. The Museum is closed for major refurbishment until 2016, so we are especially grateful that staff were still able to provide access to the album.

Follow these links to read the story of the firing range and the military camp MOS EE AA Ynyslas:
http://www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk/content/ynyslas-stars
http://www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk/collections/381339


Group photo from Mrs Ranson’s album – National Army Museum ref: 2014-10-20 111746


The heart of the military camp of MOS EE AA Ynyslas shorlty after receiving orders to transfer to Aberporth – RCAHMW Aerial Photographic Collections ref. DI2010 0090
One of the rocket firing test ramps referred to in Margaret Hertereich’s oral testimony, where they observed the trajectory of its flight and the dropping away of the first-stage propulsion unit – RCAHMW Aerial Photographic Collections ref. DI2010 0091
The outline of the hut groupings of the main camp still visible from the air in 2005 – RCAHMW Aerial Photographic Collections ref. AP2005 1501


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